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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day011.15

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day011.15
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   If you were the architect who had designed this roof and
        indeed this entire building, this very expensive building,
        and you heard that some SS officer was hacking holes

.          P-128

        through the reinforcing of a roof near the load bearing
        column, near the load bearing girder, the binder that goes
        across the roof, would you not be rather angry with the SS
        people who are tampering with your design?  And indeed
        endangering the whole roof?
   A.   But I do not see why they would have hacked through the
        roof.  We know that the modifications, at least from the
        plan we saw there, the modifications of the design were
        decided -- I mean certainly for the hanging of the door in
        that new staircase was in December the building had
        been -- that the genocidal programme in Auschwitz had been
        adopted in August, the roof was probably being finished in
        December, so there was no reason to hack through the
        roof.  They could immediately have made the holes in the
        roof as they were constructing it.
   Q.   They could have made provision for them as they went
        along --
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   -- they could have designed space with no reinforcing bars
        going across?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   And they could put that in there?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   But of course there are no such drawings, are there?
   A.   But we have established before that there no drawings of
        the production of these concrete roofs at all.

.          P-129

   Q.   So that is where your convergence of evidence halts?  It
        converges there and it comes up against, not a brick wall,
        but a concrete roof; the fact that there is not a single
        design blueprint showing the modifications to include
        those holes?  They are so angry -- do you remember there
        is one document, Professor, in January 1943, where
        somebody is having strips torn off him because he did not
        put the anti-frost agent in the concrete of this very
        roof?  And yet it has not occurred to anybody to complain,
        has it, that they had not made provision for the holes in
        the roof?
   A.   I do not really know to how answer this right now.
   Q.   Let us take it in two parts; have you seen a document
        where somebody is being reprimanded for not putting
        anti-frost liquid in the concrete as it is poured?
   A.   I do not remember that document.
   Q.   Very well.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think, Mr Irving, you had better come back
        to this.
   MR IRVING:   We are right at the end, my Lord.  And I will just
        say, another 20 seconds and then we can adjourn.
                  (To the witness) You have not seen any holes in
        the roof, have you, in the -- when you went there?  You
        have not found any holes?
   A.   I have not seen the holes for the columns, no.
   Q.   Not for the introduction of the cyanide?

.          P-130

   A.   No.
   Q.   May I say that if the Auschwitz authorities were now to
        agree to clean off that rubble off the top of that
        concrete slab and find the holes I would tomorrow halt
        this case and abandon my action.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Right, on that note we will adjourn until 2

                        (Luncheon Adjournment) 

MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, just so we know what we are
        with this bundle which I think you have finished with now,
        have you not?
   MR IRVING:  I have, my Lord, yes.  I may, of course, wish to
        come back to it later on.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Of course, but then we will know where it is.
   MR IRVING:  In J, I believe.
   MR RAMPTON:  13, my Lord.
   MR IRVING (To the witness):  Before we adjourned for lunch
        I asked you about whether you were able to see certain
        smudges on certain photographs, and I also invited you to
        spend a few minutes in the adjournment looking at the
        original photographs.  Did you have a chance to do that?
   A.   I just went very quickly over them, yes.
   Q.   Did you see anything on those photographs that would

.          P-131

        indicate there were still smudges on these 1944
        photographs of this roof?
   A.   I am very sorry.  I cannot see it, but the problem is that
        it is so small.  You know, yours are really enlarged in
        the ones you showed, so I find it really difficult to see
        anything on these photographs right now.
   Q.   But you were capable, you told the court, of seeing the
        smudges on the four blown up photographs that I showed to
        the court; you thought you saw smudges on them?
   A.   I did not put those right next to these ones since I do
        not know which one belonged to these  I just looked in
        general at them, and it seemed that these came from those,
        that is what I could say, but these ones are three times
        larger, four times larger, than those.  So, without a
        magnifying glass, I cannot come to any conclusion.
   Q.   But you accept that all these photographs were taken in
        1944?  None of them were taken before the construction of
        that particular roof or before the holes were put in the roof?
   A.   No, they are '44 except that the German one is '45.
   Q.   The German one was taken in February 1945 after the
        building was demolished, yes.  So, really, the holes you
        are talking about should have been visible in the roof if
        they were of any substantial size?
   A.   I do not know.  I mean, first of all, one of the things
        I looked at was that, in fact, there are many smudges on

.          P-132

        these negatives anyway, one way or another.  It seems that
        there is a lot of, I mean, these are not clean negatives.
        There are black things on it also which can come from
        another source, not from the crematoria, but from other places.
   Q.   But you accept that these are the original prints, maximum
        magnification, produced from the original film in the
        national archives in America?
   A.   When you say that, I accept that.
   Q.   It has the national archive stamp on the back?
   A.   Yes, but, I mean, I cannot really see one way or another
        what is on that roof.
   Q.   Professor van Pelt, you have been to Auschwitz in
        connection with your researches how many times?  Once or
   A.   No.  I have been there yearly since 1990.  I have
        sometimes twice or three times yearly.
   Q.   Have you frequently visited this roof of the alleged
        factory of death, the mortuary No. ----
   A.   Yes, I have been there, yes.
   Q.   --- 1?
   A.   Certainly every trip I go there.
   Q.   Have you never felt the urge to go and start scraping just
        where you know those holes would have been because you
        know approximately where, like a two or three foot patch
        of gravel to scrap away?

.          P-133

   A.   I have authored the report already in 1933 for the Poles
        in which I actually argued that they needed very, very
        strict preservation standards; and the last thing I would
        ever have ever done is start scraping away at the roof
        without any general plan of archeological investigations.
   Q.   But now that these serious doubts have been raised as to
        the integrity of the gas chamber notion, and now that
        neo-Nazis around the world are benefiting from these
        doubts, would it not be in everybody's interests if this
        last element of uncertainty should be so easily removed,
        that the gravel there should be scraped off the
        virgin concrete slab beneath to see if those holes were
   A.   With all respect, I do not think you are going to get a
        virgin concrete slab there.  This concrete slab has been
         -- water has been seeping through it.  I mean, a concrete
        road -- I mean, I have been travelling a lot through
        Germany where they still have the concrete roads created
        in the 1930s, the concrete autobahn.
   Q.   Are those concretes roads made of reinforced steel
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Are there reinforcing bars in those roads?
   A.   I do not know if they are reinforced, but, I mean, but
        things are growing through the concrete, so...
   Q.   But my experience of roads is that they have no

.          P-134

        reinforcing bars in them, do they?
   A.   But the thing is that I do not think, and maybe I can be
        completely wrong, that if you go under all the top layer,
        if you remove the top layer of that concrete, you would
        have to remove a top layer, that you are going to get a
        piece that is in tact because the roof itself already is
        terribly fragmented.
   Q.   Would I be right in suspecting that the Defence in this
        case has spent a substantial sum of money in trying to
        establish the rights and wrongs of this particular
        allegation about the factory of death?
   A.   You will have to ask someone else.  I do not know what the
        Defence has spent on money.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What do you mean by "this particular
        allegation"?  The roof?
   MR IRVING:  Well, if they could have proved that I was wrong on
        this particular matter, this would really knock out the
        pillars from beneath my case.
   A.   Mr Irving, you did the four holes ----
   MR RAMPTON:  No, I can speak about that.  I happen to know the
        truth of it.  Goodness knows how much money has been spent
        on the case as a whole, but the roof has cost practically
        nothing, except a little bit of my thinking time recently,
        because it has only just cropped up.
   MR IRVING:  Professor van Pelt, approximately how much is an
        air ----

.          P-135

   MR RAMPTON:  The roof came up about two days ago for the first
   MR IRVING:  Approximately how much does an air ticket to Warsaw
        cost or Cracau?  100, 200?
   A.   What, from Canada?
   Q.   Well, from London or from Canada?
   A.   I have no idea.
   Q.   It is an infinitesimal amount compared with the expenses
        so far expended on this case?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, if Mr Rampton is right in what he just
        said, then really these questions get nowhere, do they,
        because if it was not raised as an issue until two days
        ago, how much money has been spent on it is really an
        irrelevant consideration.
   MR IRVING:  If this matter had not occurred to the Defence, my
        Lord, then might I suggest with the utmost respect it
        ought to have occurred to the Defence.  They have been
        negligent to that degree, that they could have gone and
        knocked the pillar out from underneath me by going and
        persuading the local Auschwitz authorities who, by all
        accounts, have been very compliant with them -- the very
        opposite of their attitude to me -- to have a look at just
        one of the sites where the holes should have been.  We
        know what the underside of that slab looks like, my Lord.
        Your Lordship has seen the photograph.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am looking at the photograph now.  The

.          P-136

        difficulty I have with that -- I do not know whether you
        can help, Professor -- is that I cannot -- it is this
        one.  I have no idea where you have it because I have it
        floating free.
   A.   It is probably floating around.  I have it right here.
   Q.   What I simply cannot work out at all is how much of the
        roof one is actually seeing.  I just have not a clue,
        whether it is a quarter of it ----
   MR IRVING:  Indeed, my Lord ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  --- half of it.
   MR IRVING:  --- but an examination of the top surface of the
        roof would, undoubtedly, have provided the answers because
        I think it is common sense, and certainly any engineer
        would back this up, would they not, Professor van Pelt,
        that if the roof is going to fragment and splinter in any
        way as a result of a demolition, the fractures would have
        started at the holes where the roof had been weakened by
        the holes being placed ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I should have thought that was very
   MR IRVING:  I beg your pardon?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What is the answer?  Would he have a clue
        about that?
   A.   Where the fracture would have started?
   Q.   The suggestion is that if there were holes, the fracture
        would have started around the holes ----

.          P-137

   A.   I have no idea.
   Q.   --- because it would be a weak point.
   A.   It is beyond my competence.
   MR IRVING:  Well, my Lord, it is like a pane of glass; if you
        put a hole in a plane of glass, a bullet hole or
        something, that is going to be the place where the cracks
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, whether that is true of reinforced
        concrete, I think neither of you can really say at the

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